The Challenge of
Why an annual Global Hunger Index (GHI)?
• It raises awareness of regional and country differences in
• It shows progress over time.
• It highlights successes and failures in hunger reduction.
• It provides incentives to act and improve the international
• It focuses on one major hunger-related topic every year.
• …are a powerful tool used by
• …attract public and
• …can spur competition to
improve one’s position.
GHI measures three dimensions of hunger
• Child underweight
• Child mortality
Proportion of the
population that is
age five (in %)
Mortality rate of
age five (in %)
Countries are ranked on a 100 point scale
The minimum score
(zero) and maximum
score (100) are not
reached in practice
Winners and losers from 1990 to 2014 GHI
• The GHI is calculated for 120 countries where measuring hunger
is most relevant and for which data on the three indicators of
hunger are available.
• The 2014 GHI reflects data from 2009-2013—it is thus a
snapshot of the recent past.
• The GHI combines these three equally weighted indicators into
one score: the proportion of people who are undernourished,
the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and
the mortality rate of children younger than age five.
• An increase in a country’s GHI score indicates that the hunger
situation is worsening. A decrease in the GHI score indicates
improvement in the country’s hunger situation.
Key findings—Part 1
• The 2014 world GHI fell by 39 percent from the 1990 world GHI,
from a score of 20.6 to 12.5.
• Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia have the highest levels
of hunger with regional scores of 18.2 and 18.1, respectively.
• From the 1990 GHI to the 2014 GHI, 26 countries reduced their
scores by 50 percent or more.
• In terms of absolute progress, Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia,
Chad, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand, and Vietnam
saw the greatest improvements, with their scores decreasing by
more than 14 points from the 1990 to 2014 GHI.
Key findings—Part 2
• Sixteen countries still have levels of hunger that are “extremely
alarming” or “alarming.”
• Most of the countries with alarming GHI scores are in Africa
south of the Sahara. The only exceptions are Haiti, Laos, Timor-
Leste, and Yemen.
• The two countries with “extremely alarming” 2014 GHI scores—
Burundi and Eritrea—are in Africa south of the Sahara.
• For the Democratic Republic of the Congo (population about 70
million) and other likely hunger hotspots, such as Afghanistan
and Somalia, reliable data on undernourishment are badly
2 countries “extremely alarming” / 14 “alarming”
Country GHI Country GHI Country GHI
Burundi 35.6 Timor Leste 29.8 Madagascar 21.9
Eritrea 33.8 Comoros 29.5 Central African Rep. 21.5
26.0 Niger 21.1
Chad 24.9 Mozambique 20.5
Ethiopia 24.4 Lao PDR 20.1
Yemen, Rep. 23.4
Sierra Leone 22.5
No complete data are available for Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia,
Myanmar, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, and Somalia
Good news, but …
• The GHI has declined somewhat since 1990, but ...
…it remains “serious” at 12.5 and warrants continued concern.
• In South Asia (India) underweight in children fell by almost 13
percentage points between 2005–2006 and 2013–2014, but…
…much work still needs to be done at the national and state
levels so that a greater share of the population will enjoy
• Africa has made progress: advances in the fight against
HIV/AIDS, malaria, better access to clean water and sanitation,
…the situation in the Sahel and conflict-stricken countries
How the GHI correlates with measures
of hidden hunger
Spearman rank correlation coefficients can range from 0 (no association) to 1 (perfect association). N indicates the
number of countries for which the correlation coefficients could be computed.
Prevalence of anemia
among preschool-age children 1993-2005
Percentage of population with selected
Consequences of micronutrient deficiencies
throughout the life cycle
Adapted from ACC/SCN (2000)
Selected micronutrient deficiencies
and their effects
Sources: Allen (2001); Andersson, Karumbunathan, and Zimmermann (2012); de Benoist et al. (2008);
Micronutrient Initiative (2009); Wessels and Brown (2012); and WHO (2009; 2014a)
Cycle of hidden hunger, poverty,
and stalled development
Sources: Black et al. (2013); IFPRI (2014);
FAO (2013); von Grebmer et al. (2010)
Integrated approaches toward improved nutrition
Realigning Agriculture to Improve
Nutrition (RAIN) Project in Zambia
Linking Agriculture, Natural Resource
Management and Nutrition in Asia (India and Cambodia)
Welthungerhilfe’s program areas in India
Welthungerhilfe’s program areas in Cambodia
Make it a priority to eliminate hidden hunger
• Targets and indicators must build on existing national
and international nutrition commitments.
• Regional, national, and community-based agendas and
action plans must reflect these commitments. Policy
analysis should go beyond consideration of energy
intake and highlight the importance of dietary quality.
• Ensure hidden hunger is not overlooked. Micronutrient
deficiencies cannot stay in the shadows.
- -2Policies must be appropriate, adequate, and
connected to each other
• Integrate approaches across relevant ministries and stakeholders.
• Enhance girls’ access to education.
• Increase access to nutritious foods by endorsing targeted social safety
nets and support for the poorest.
• Each country needs to define the best set of interventions necessary.
• Create an enabling environment to improve access to and local
availability of micronutrient-rich foods.
• Increase support for improved access to local markets and the
development of local food processing facilities.
- -3Invest in human capacity building and allocate the necessary
funds to build expertise and capacity in nutrition at all levels
• Invest in increasing the number of nutrition and health
experts, and build their capacity, at national and
subnational levels, supporting greater coordination and
• Expand coordination within and across multilateral
institutions, including CGIAR, FAO, WFP, WHO, UNICEF,
and civil society organizations.
- -4Enhance accountability: Governments and international institutions must
create a regulatory environment that promotes adequate nutrition
• National governments must translate voluntary codes of conduct into
national legislation to ensure that the marketing does not undermine
health and diets. Governments should enforce rules.
• International organizations and national governments must educate
consumers about the nutritional value of foods.
• Governments must incentivize private sector entities, such as seed
and food companies, to develop more nutritious seeds and foods.
• Governments must require companies to communicate nutrition-related
information, practices, and performance in a transparent way.
- -5Expand monitoring, research, and evidence base to
• Standardize and regularize data collection on
micronutrient deficiencies. Good policies must be
backed by reliable data.
• Build further evidence of efficacy, cost-effectiveness,
and scalability of food-based solutions for fighting
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